The mission statement is to get a medical cannabis patient home cultivation bill introduced in the Senate Health Committee. That stand-alone bill need only be based on the provisions for patient home cultivation of medical cannabis that were passed out of the Senate Health Committee (6 to 1) as part of our original medical “marijuana” bill (S119) on Dec 15, 2008. Those provisions were then approved as part of S119 on the full floor of the senate by a vote of 22-16 on Feb 23, 2009. They were the strictest cultivation provisions of any of the 13 states that had passed medical cannabis laws with such provisions before New Jersey. The expectation was that the NJ assembly would do the same. But patients were blindsided by the assembly Health Committee Chairman, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, when he abruptly took home cultivation provisions out of the assembly companion bill before passing it out of his committee, forcing a compromise with the Senate that left patients with no cultivation rights at all. He did so without explanation and has resisted explaining why since. All patients are asking now is for the NJ senate to do what they have already done as part of S119 in the senate 11 years ago. Restore the home cultivation rights, patient plant possession, they approved for patients 11 years ago. That is the lowest common denominator in an effort to make it as easy as possible for NJ state senators who were supportive of this over a decade ago to take part now. If we can’t get a senate bill introduced in committee and posted for an informational hearing, we are dead in the water. But if we can? Then it will be on to the assembly in search of an identical companion bill. Step by step. THE TIMETABLE: There isn’t one. There is nothing to extrapolate from. This will depend on how quickly patients step up and take part as well as how quickly we react to the paths this unique attempt takes as it evolves. The longer legislators drag this out, the more the website grows into a concern for legislators. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: THIS PURPOSE OF THIS WEBSITE IS TO IMPROVE MEDICAL CANNABIS PATIENTS’ AND THEIR SUPPORTERS’ ABILITY TO SPEAK WITH UNIFIED VOICE IN A COHESIVE FOCUSED EFFORT AT ESTABLISHING A CANNABIS PATIENT HOME CULTIVATION BILL FOR REGISTERED PATIENTS IN NJ.
TO DO THIS, PARTICIPANTS WILL NEED TO USE SPECIFIC TEMPLATES TO EMAIL THEIR DISTRICT’S ASSEMBLYPERSONS AND STATE SENATOR. THESE TEMPLATES WILL PROVIDE A UNIFIED VOICE FOR PATIENTS AND FOCUS ON A FIRST STEP TOGETHER, RATHER THAN FOCUSING ON AN END GOAL SEPARATELY. YOU ADD A SHORT PARAGRAPH (STATEMENTS, NO QUESTION MARKS) WHERE YOU TELL YOUR REPRESENTATION TO TRENTON IN YOUR OWN WORDS HOW THE HIGH COST OF MEDICAL CANNABIS AFFECTS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, PERHAPS SPEAKING TO WHAT YOU NEED TO GO WITHOUT TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD YOUR MEDICINE. FOR THOSE WHO CAN, A HEARTFELT SUMMATION WITH A VERY SHORT (30 SECONDS) SELFIE VIDEO ATTACHED TO THE EMAIL (BUT NOT NECESSARY) CAN PROVIDE THE ABILITY TO BRING PATIENTS OUT OF THE SHADOWS WHERE LEGISLATORS CAN SEE THEM AND HEAR THEM. WE ARE FOCUSING ON PROVIDING A WAY (LetPatientsGrow.com) FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND THE MEDIA TO EASILY MONITOR THIS PROCESS. TRANSCRIPTS OF LEGISLATORS’ EMAILS CONCERNING THEIR CONSTITUENT/PATIENT CONTACTS ON THIS SUBJECT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO BE EASILY VERIFIED AND FOLLOWED ON A WEBSITE. THEIR RESPONSES, OR LACK THEREOF, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON LetPatientsGrowNJ.com AS WELL. HOPEFULLY SUCH TRANSPARANCY MIGHT CAUSE SOME LEGISLATAORS’ SURVIVAL INSTINCTS TO KICK IN, AND THAT CAN BE A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR WHEN GETTING THEM TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE SQUARELY.
ADVOCATES AND PATIENTS HAVE APPROACHED LEGISLATORS WITH THEIR INDIVIDUAL POINTS OF VIEW AND VARIED REMEDIAL SUGGESTIONS ABOUT HOME CULTIVATION FOR YEARS. THEY HAVE BEEN EASILY TURNED BACK OR IGNORED WITH NO CONSEQUENCE FOR ANY LEGISLATORS BECAUSE THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A “NEXT STEP” FOR LEGISLATORS TO CONTEND WITH. THE FACT THAT THEY ARE IGNORING PATIENTS DOES NOT MATTER IF THE ACCUSATIONS ARE NOT BACKED UP BY EVIDENCE. EVEN THAT IS NOT ENOUGH IN AND OF ITSELF IF IT REMAINS OFF RADAR TO THEIR OTHER CONSTITUENTS.
GETTING THE ATTENTION OF MAINSTREAM MEDIA CAN BE AS ELUSIVE AS GETTING THE ATTENTION OF LEGISLATORS, THEREFOR MEDIA AWARENESS IS NOT AN OPTION TO BE DEPENDED ON, NOT YET ANYWAY. THE IDEA IS FOR LetPatientsGrowNJ.com TO BE EASILY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC, MEDIA, PATIENTS, AND LEGISLATORS ALIKE, WE WILL BE POSTING TRANSCRIPTS OF NJ CONSTITUENT/LEGISLATOR EMAIL TRAILS WHEN DEALING WITH THEIR CONSTITUENTS ON THIS ISSUE, AS WELL AS IDENTIFYING THOSE WHO ARE UNRESPONSIVE TO CONSTITUENTS. THAT WILL CREATE A LEVEL OF TRANSPARENCY THAT OFFENDING LEGISLATORS MAY EVENTUALLY RESPOND TO, WITH THE ADDED POTENTIAL OF INDUCING MEDIA INTEREST. IT IS JUST THAT POTENTIAL THAT MAY CHANGE THE COURSE OF HOW LEGISLATORS DEAL WITH CONSTITUENT/PATIENTS ON THIS ISSUE.
AT FIRST, THE “LET PATIENTS GROW NJ” PETITION IS BEING VIEWED AS A SINGULAR EVENT RATHER THAN THE “WARNING SHOT” IT WAS MEANT TO BE. THAT WILL CHANGE AS LetPatientsGrowNJ.com MOVES ON TO STEP TWO OF A “STEP BY STEP” COMPARTMENTALIZED APPROACH, WITH EACH STEP FOCUSING ON A PARTICULAR MISSION. STEP 1 WAS THE PETITION ITSELF. NOW, WITH ITS CONTINUING SUCCESS, WE CAN MOVE ON TO STEP 2, WHICH IS GETTING A PATIENT HOME CULTIVATION BILL POSTED IN THE NJ STATE SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE THROUGH A COORDINATED FOCUSED CONSTITUENT/PATIENT EFFORT. IF WE CAN’T SUCH A BILL IN COMMITTEE, WE WILL NEVER EVER GET A LAW PASSED. THAT IS WHY IT IS THE NEXT STEP (STEP 2). OF A MULTI-STEP PLAN. A UNIFIED VOICE WITH SINGULAR NARROWLY FOCUSED OBJECTIVES IS PART OF “THE PROCESS”. STEP BY STEP.